There's a media fight brewing in Miami between the old paper giant and the new local iteration of a quickly growing Internet media monster. Random Pixels blogger Bill Cooke, ever the keen-eyed instigator, noticed that the recently launched Huffington Post Miami was cribbing quite liberally from Miami Herald stories. Cooke reports that quite a few Herald insiders seem to turn their nose down at these "news aggregating" shenanigans. They might have a higher horse to sit on if the Herald didn't aggregate so damn much itself.
"I'll say what I have to say directly to the Huffington Post," Herald managing editor Rick Hirsch tells Cooke ominously. "There are some things we'll be discussing soon."
"Sure they link to our stories, but who's going to click through after they've read the entire story on the Huffington Post?" adds another Herald reporter unwilling to talk on the record.
Maybe this reporter doesn't quite understand how the Internet works? A quick view of our own traffic analytics shows that a not-quite insignificant sliver of our own traffic comes from other news sites and blogs linking to us. Not to mention the fact that Google's own search results are based to a degree on incoming links. So links certainly don't hurt.
At least HuffPo actually has the courtesy of linking back. Thing is, the Herald actually does its fair share of online aggregation, but doesn't even bother throwing in the link.
Sure, the Herald doesn't have to rely on aggregation quite so much. They routinely fill their pages, both print and online, with stories from wire services as well as through partnerships they have with the Sun-Sentinel, Palm Beach Post, St. Pete Times and CBS-4.
Yet, a cursory view of stories they've posted online return quite a few instances of aggregation in the past week alone. They attribute the stories to other news sites, but don't even bother inserting a link. We've gone ahead and done the hard labor of linking back to the stories for them (in case you're wondering, the Herald does have the ability to link to news stories in their posts, as we've pointed out they've done in the past, accidentally, to hardcore porn websites).
"Flatulent Whoopi Goldberg clears the air" - "According to USA Today..."
- "Miami-Dade Officer kills attacking Pitt Bull" - "according to WSVN-7"
- "Miami-based Burger King to lose No. 2 spot in burger war" - "according to a report in The Wall Street Journal."
- "911? This is an emergency. I ate too much." - "according to WPBF.com"
- "Half-Cuban actress calls Academy Award-winning actor Sean Penn a 'communist'" - "the actress told radio station WMAL on Tuesday."
- "Cocaine ingested from rear end ends in tragedy" - "According to the ABC affiliate in Charleston"
- "Potatoes, pancakes tossed through drive-through window" - "according to a report on Ledger.com"
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Quite a few of these posts have gotten prominent placement on the Herald's front page, and have generated a healthy amount of comments and Facebook shares, which usually indicate decent traffic. Traffic that the Herald isn't bothering to share with the original source. (Granted, the Herald does actually link to other sources on its network of Typepad-based blogs, but how many people actually read those anyway?)
This hubbub over news aggregation is kind of boring and a losing point in today's media landscape, as GigaOm.com explains anyway. We'd be more interested in a chit-chat about lazy or just plain bad news aggregation (and would hope both the Herald and HuffPo happened to be listening in to that particular debate).
Update: Here's another piece of Herald aggregation posted just 30 minutes ago. Its curbed mostly from a Forbes.com article, again no link is included. You might however already be familiar with the topic since Riptide posted about it almost 24 hours ago. I guess that's another thing HuffPo Miami and the Herald have in common: they seem to be playing catch up with Riptide an awful lot lately.